Lesson Plan Revisions

I chose my lesson about stereotyping and discrimination to revise because I learned a lot after I taught it. As I mentioned before in my original reflection after teaching this lesson, this was a pretty heavy lesson to try to teach in one class because it is a very important topic that needs to be taken seriously for students to understand. Afterwards I thought a lot about how to improve this lesson and after making all the revisions necessary I feel confident that I could teach this lesson again, and it would be much more effective.

Original Lesson Plan

REVISED Lesson Plan (Changes are highlighted)

This lesson is such an important discussion to start with your students to make them aware of how often, why and where discrimination and stereotyping happens. After looking closer at Blooms Taxonomy, incorporating the three main components of it will definitely strengthen the lesson. With the opening discussion in the beginning of my lesson, I wanted students to use their cognitive skills by thinking about what I was asking and also to expand on their knowledge. With the exit slip with the three questions provided, I am targeting the student’s attitudes about this topic, and hopefully they would show some personal growth of opinions in this area. With the actual paper plate activity, I am targeting the psychomotor aspect of Blooms Taxonomy. This was a hands-on activity where I was hoping students would get to understand what it was like to be stereotyped even if it hadn’t happened to them personally before. Ultimately I wanted them to see this topic from a different perspective and have their eyes opened to the raw reality of it.

I really wanted to incorporate examples of when I have experienced stereotyping to give the students real life examples of how often stereotyping works. As a part time waitress, I experience gender stereotyping quite frequently. I didn’t think this would be appropriate to share with my grades 4-7 students, but it was one of the only things I could think of where I have been obviously and outright stereotyped. I did mention to the students some common gender stereotypes such as “women are bad drivers,” “men are stronger”, or “man up”.

Afterwards my coop teacher shared her experiences of discrimination and stereotyping as an Aboriginal woman and I thought that was so powerful. The students really were attentive to this and were asking many questions about it such as “Why?” “Why would people think that by just looking at you?” etc. Treaty education is so important because if students are aware of what is happening in our province and country and the negative stereotypes that are sometimes attached to Aboriginal peoples then they can stop it from happening by not participating in it. Awareness is the most important part of treaty education. How I could start my lesson about this next time is by showing a video from people who are stereotyped, and then have a discussion about that afterwards. I didn’t include that in my revised version of my lesson because the school I am at is technology free, but in the future a video could be a really great way to introduce the topic, in a more diverse way.

I have learned a lot about differentiation in lesson plans from my classroom because it is grades 4 – 7. Since it is such a wide range of ages and grades, I have found it very challenging to meet the needs of all ages, grades and abilities. Especially challenging because we are only there once a week, so only now am I starting to really understand what every student’s particular needs. For example, this week I learned that one student has a very short memory and needs things written on the board to look back at. I could have easily adapted so many of my previous lessons for this but I didn’t realize this until this week. I also just started to notice that one student needs a lot of help with spelling and writing to the point of meltdowns because he gets so anxious to have to write anything out. Having him answer verbally is a much better way to hear his opinions, as well as having someone write out his answers as he speaks is also really helpful to him.

My target I created for myself in my professional development plan for this lesson was to create a good discussion before and after the activity. My specific instructions that I asked my coop teacher to look for were if I had good prompts that started discussions, as well as if the discussion stayed on topic. She recorded a lot of great data that was helpful for me to look back and reflect on that. She recorded all my questions I asked and what the students’ answers were which I had already forgot some of them so it’s great that I now have it written down. I also am able to look back and see where the students had lots of answers and the prompts or questions that they had a hard time with responding.

Field Experience Response: Week 7

This week I continued on with my health lessons, with this week’s topic being about self-esteem. What I thought went well in my lesson is that the students were engaged in the activity they were expected to do, which was instead of drawing a self-portrait, they were partnered up and drawing a portrait of their partner. I also thought the discussion before the activity went well, the students all had great answers to my prompts which I was really happy with.

What didn’t go as planned is that I let the students pick their own partners, because there have been no issues with partners in the past. When I was pre-conferencing with my coop teacher, I asked her what her opinion was about pairing the students up and she agreed with me that they would be fine choosing their own. However, two boys decided to rekindle their long lost friendship that day and as a pair, they did not work well together at all. I noticed that they were not on task at all, so I continued to go to their area and ask them how they were doing and they just literally ignored me the entire time. I had to actually physically get in between them to get their attention because they were so engrossed in their conversation with each other. They were not taking the assignment seriously at all, and making fun of each other in their drawings, which was an issue I was worrying about. I told them they needed to get working on their assignments seriously or else they would be split up. They didn’t think I was serious so they continued to goof off and I told them okay, lets go back to your desks. They realized I was serious and one of the students said, “Fine, we will finish the stupid assignment”.  I wasn’t happy that they were speaking to me like that or about the assignment. What I eventually ended up doing is asking my partner to sit with them to make sure they were on task and they finally got to work and finished. Also when I was having my closing discussion with the students the classroom was so loud from the other rooms beside us, and with everyone combined the noise levels were so loud so it was hard to get and hold their attention so I was disappointed I wasn’t able to completely finish my lesson as I had hoped too.

Obviously next time I would spend more time thinking about how to pair up the partners, but it really is just something I had to learn through experience because I would have never thought that I would have that much trouble with those particular students, especially together. I know that in my future classroom, I likely won’t have another person there to supervise two students the entire work period so I would have to make sure I had another plan that I planned ahead.

Something I learned this week is that I do tend to get frustrated easily, especially with younger students being so silly. I get annoyed how they act and so I am looking forward to work with older students in the future to see how I react in that setting. I am not naive, I obviously don’t think that older students will have no behaviour issues or that they won’t act silly either, but I just am interested to see how I react in that setting. This week my class definitely put my classroom management skills to the test, but that is the only way I will learn, is through experience! 

Field Experience Response: Week 6

This week in our school was Rainbow Week, which is about racism awareness. My coop told us we could create a lesson around this if I wanted, so I decided to create a lesson around prejudice and stereotypes. I was nervous because this is a really important and deep topic especially when introducing it to the students for the first time so I wanted to make sure they actually took something away from this.

What went well in my lesson is that the students were engaged in the discussion that we had about prejudice. When I first asked what prejudice was, no one said anything. So I prompted them with breaking the word up – pre / judge. Right away the students had their hands up with ideas. That was really interesting to see that with a simple prompt or even by changing the words around the students were able come up with so many other ideas. The students also really enjoyed the activity – which involved a paper plate. On the outside “bump” of the plate, I asked the students to draw a self-portrait and then write a few descriptor words that people would know/think or judge before getting to actually know you. For example, I made one for myself and I wrote some words like “female, white, brunette, brown eyes”. Then, on the inside of the plate I asked the students to write words that people wouldn’t know about you by just looking. I wrote some words like “Ukrainian, shy, animal-lover, family-oriented, self-conscious, smart”.

Everything went as planned, I thought the kids were interested in this activity. However, there was one boy who was testing me because he was being silly and drawing a turtle on his plate and when I would ask him to take the activity serious, he would say, “You can’t tell me I am not a turtle, that is how I see myself.” I found this challenging because I never want to take away a child’s creative away but I felt like he was making a joke out of my lesson. I wanted him to take it serious because prejudice and stereotyping is serious and I wanted him to realize that. I dealt with it by taking away his turtle plate and handing him a new one and I told him that his turtle was wonderful and fantastic but I wanted him to seriously draw himself and when he was finished he could continue his turtle.

I am not sure that they completely understood my main message of the activity, which was that you couldn’t judge someone by just looking at them. Many of the students wrote things like “I have a cat” or “I like to sing”, which is really great but not necessarily characteristics that people would judge them on. Some students went deeper with things like, “I am really scared of the dark” or  “Pow-wow dancer”. At the end of the activity, I asked the kids to come back to their desks and I asked a few ending questions, like “what did you learn? Did this help you learn about prejudice and stereotypes?” I was surprised by their answers because many of the students talked about they learned that drawling yourself is really hard even though you see yourself all the time. That isn’t what I was really going for, but I was interested to hear those answers. I also am thinking I am going to continue with this lesson next week spinning it more so in regards to body image and how they see themselves.

The students also had great responses when I asked, “How can we stop prejudice from happening?” They said things like, “Don’t be mean to someone just because of how they look or talk” or “If someone looks weird doesn’t mean you can be rude to them” and “Treat others like you want to be treated”. I think it is challenging to take on a lesson as large as this one when you can’t continue with it. I would have liked to spend more times on it, and maybe create a follow up lesson especially since the entire week was racism awareness so it would have been great to go off of this. My coop teacher said she was really happy with my lesson and she thought that it was a great way to introduce Rainbow Week so I am glad she enjoyed it.

Something I would change about this lesson is incorporating of an example of prejudice or stereotype that I have experienced. The reason I am saying this is because at the end of my lesson my coop teacher went to the class and just highlighted the fact that prejudice is SO important to learn about in order to stop it from happening. She told a real life example of being stereotyped in her life as an Aboriginal woman. The kids were really interested and engaged in it and kept asking her “Why?” “Why would people do that?” “Why would people think that?” I thought it was really powerful and really let the lesson sink in for the kids. This would have been a great time to get into white privilege, because I had never heard anything about that until my second semester in University and I think it is so important to educate you kids about it. I was happy with my lesson this week and it gave me great ideas to build off of for next week!

Field Experience Response: Week 5

This week was all about adaptations and flexibility for me. I continued on with my theme of decision-making and planned a role playing game for the students to practice making appropriate decisions. What went well is that the students really enjoyed role-playing. I also was able to create a discussion beforehand about what types of decisions you make on a daily basis, how you make those and also how you make those larger decisions and whom you could ask for help.

What didn’t go as planned is pretty much everything. Our coop teacher told us as soon as we arrived that there would be an Elder coming in that morning to talk to the students from 9:30-10:30. So basically my partner and I had about an hour, hour and ten minutes to get through both of our lessons after the kids were back in from recess and got settled and what not. This isn’t that big of a deal but my lesson would take a bit longer than usual. However, we pushed on and dealt with it and it all worked out and were able to get through our lessons without obviously rushing. I just had to cut down my lesson a bit which was super easy to do because I had about 12 scenarios in case we needed to go longer but I just took some out and we only did about 3 scenarios per group. I also wasn’t able to have as long of a discussion at the end to wrap things up, but all in all I was happy with how everything went because I really wasn’t sure how the students were going to react to this lesson.

Another adaptation I had to make was location. Because our school is one room with only dividers in between, noise travels easily and it can get very distracting very easily. I hadn’t considered that this would be as issue, however since there were only two groups with about 8 people per group, once they started getting excited and planning their scenario they seemed to get louder and louder to have their ideas heard. Two of the other teachers asked us to try to be quieter since we were disrupting their classes, so we decided to move downstairs where they were able to be louder and they also had more room down there. In hindsight, starting off in the basement would have been the easier and smarter option especially in regards to our open concept school and the small space that our classroom is located in.

If I were to re-teach this lesson, I would make those changes I mentioned above about starting in a different area, as well as I would like to have more time to complete this lesson. I was thinking afterwards it would have been a good idea to have a discussion after each scenario to talk about what the other options could have been and what the other outcomes as a result. However, we simply did not have the time to have a discussion after each one if we wanted to get through a few.

This week I definitely was able to experience the flexibility that teachers need to have because unexpected things and events are always occurring! 

Joining Hands Against Bullying and Raising the Alert on Cyberbullying Response

In regards to bullying in my classroom that I am placed in, I really haven’t noticed any issues for the most part. Especially in regards to cyber bullying because our school is completely technology free. Our coop teacher as also told us that most of the students are also technology free in their homes so many do not have access to anything technology wise, down to having no televisions so no access to any social media at all.

There really isn’t a lot of bullying in general in our classroom. Like I have mentioned before in some of my blog posts, it is a private school with an emphasis on the community feel. There is only around 40 students in the entire school. Our coop teacher mentioned to us on our first day that many of the children who have chosen to attend the school, is a result from being bullied at other schools so our school has absolutely zero tolerance for it. I know that many other schools have the same policies, but the difference with our school is that since the students do not have access to technology there are no issues with implementing it. Other schools who have the same policy may have trouble implementing it because they don’t have control over what the students are doing with technology outside of school for sure.  I’m sure there are still relationship disagreements and such because that is hard to try to control every issue children have in their relationships. However, for the most part the entire school interacts very well together.

Some of the things I liked in this article that I would try to implement in my classroom are ensuring that my students are aware of cyber bullying and the implications that may result from it, especially with my older students. I liked the fact that the article highlighted the fact that we need to explain to our students the differences between tattling and telling. Tattling means getting someone in trouble, and telling means getting someone out of trouble. I don’t think that a lot of children realize that cyber bullying is actually illegal and they can get in trouble with the law. Whether it is threatening harm on someone or sending or receiving inappropriate pictures. Not a lot of students realize that sending inappropriate pictures is distributing child pornography, and the people receiving it are in possession of child pornography. That is a serious offence with harsh consequences. Perhaps if students were more aware of the legal consequences then they would take their online actions more serious.

I think that the parents also need to be aware of cyber bullying because realistically, children do not have access to technology unless their parents allow them. More and more parents are seemingly letting their children have unsupervised access to technology without realizing what their children can do online. Having more awareness about this issue is the only way that cyber bullying will decelerate as technology is only growing at faster rates and becoming more accessible for everyone.


Field Experience Response: Week 4

This week I strayed away from the area of English and taught a lesson on Health, more specifically to do with self-image and self-esteem. I was nervous because this was a subject area away from my comfort zone, but overall I thought it went well. The students were engaged throughout the lesson, and they seemed to really enjoy the activity. I started off with asking the students what they thought self-esteem and self-image was, and they all had really great answers and ideas about it. I then went into diversity and they weren’t as sure what this mean, but once I explained it they were excited to share their examples of what diverse was.

We then went into an activity relating to diversity within their classroom and peers where I gave then a sheet of paper with questions and they had to go around asking their peers different things about them and then write their names down. They really enjoyed that part, they were excited to ask their friends these questions and get to know them a bit better. After they were finished with that, we had an ending discussion about what they learned about their peers and why they think it is important to be different. The students were surprised to find out some things about their classmates, such as there is no one in their class who is an only child, or that no one likes anchovies on pizza.

As an exit slip I handed out index cards asking them to write down three positive things they like about their selves. I thought a little about if some students would try to be negative or if they would make fun of their peers for certain things but I didn’t think about it to in depth because it is a very close classroom with a community vibe. The students are all great with each other regardless of their age, grade or personality. However, there was one little boy who wrote on his exit slip that the three things he liked about himself was that he didn’t like 3 of his classmates. I was surprised to see that, especially from him because he is always really good at completing his work. I think he was just trying to be silly and show off to his table group because he asked me to read it as soon as he handed it in and giggled with his group. I gave him a new slip and asked him to take it more seriously and he did.

One challenge I faced with this lesson is that it is such a large and extensive topic that needs a lot of time to work on. Fortunately, my coop teacher asked if I would continue with this topic for next week so I will be able to expand on my lesson. This isn’t a topic that you can just finish up with in one lesson, especially because the students haven’t spent a lot of time focusing on health.

I’m finding that the lessons are becoming easier to plan because obviously after a few times it becomes easier but also because I am getting to know the students better and I can relate their interests to the lesson. I feel like I know what they would enjoy doing and what they may struggle with. I also am learning that I don’t need to underestimate the students, even thought they are mostly 10 and under, they are so capable and have so many interesting ideas and personal opinions. I am really excited to see how the next lesson goes as I continue with this topic!